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  • Writer's pictureKeith Groninger

Adaptable Design - A Green Building Strategy

Groninger Custom Homes builds green and sustainable custom homes in Winter Park, Orlando and Central Florida.


Adaptable Design refers to the ability of a home to suit multiple and changing needs of its occupants. As a family grows or ages, their needs for space and functionality evolve.


outdoor living space around a courtyard swimming pool

There are several considerations related to the specific needs of a family but also to the changing demographics of what defines a family and the occupants of a home.


The life-cycle of a conventional family follows a somewhat predictable path, but this of course depends on the definition of "conventional". Several new descriptions of family types have been coined in recent years and demographics are constantly changing.


outdoor space feels like a living room

Adaptable design attempts to address the needs of the changing family unit and allow a home to serve its occupants over time without compromises or expensive renovations. The process of designing for adaptability starts with a look at the family unit:


  • Families with young children usually desire bedrooms that are grouped together. Young children may actually prefer sharing a bedroom or bathroom with a sibling.

  • Pre-teen children may not yet require privacy, but have some specialized needs that include study space and entertaining their friends. Spaces shared by the family may not be suitable for activities that include video games and internet browsing.

  • Teenagers desire privacy for themselves and their friends. The home where the teenagers prefer to hangout may (or may not) be conducive to healthy growth of the family.

  • When children leave for college, the home may have an empty feeling, but parents are often reluctant to downsize too quickly in case of "rebound". The current economy and lifestyle of young working adults has contributed to more college graduates moving back in with their parents.

  • The number of multi-generational households is also on the rise. As well as the above factors, increased lifespans may contribute to elderly parents moving into the family home. Add to that cultural preferences, and the number of households with three or even four generations under one roof is on the rise.

  • Empty Nesters are frequently active and social, but not yet ready for retirement. Without the additional family members under the roof, they want to entertain or travel, and be free from maintenance or management of a large home. Their needs have evolved away from "family" but they might still want some space for family members when they come to visit.


Here is a home design that features several adaptable elements:


1st floor plan empty nester 55+ home

  • The Outdoor Living space has a "living room" feel, with extensive cooking and dining areas, a fire pit and conversation seating. Retractable screens adapt to the weather conditions and, large folding doors and windows open the space to the interior of the home. A great place to entertain.

  • The Man Cave and She Shed garage has a work bench, office space, drop zone and craft counter. This adaptable space is air-conditioned and includes audio-video equipment and even "surround sound". Another great place to entertain.

  • The AirBNB Guest Suite has a private entry, living space and a kitchenette. It would be great for a rebounding young adult or the in-laws (sorry).

  • Bunk Rooms provide overflow crash pads for visitors or are a great spot for when the grandkids visit.

  • A Christmas Storage attic is built into the roof trusses over the Master suite, for all the "stuff" that's accumulated over the years that you just can't let go of...

  • A "Catio" Pet Enclosure is a glorified fenced in area, that give the kitties a place to roam and do their business. Fence guards keep them in and "catwalks" give them a place to hang out.


2nd floor plan empty nester 55+ design

One of the most important functions for a home to perform is to meet the lifestyle needs of a household. A talented designer should be able to lead a discussion and help you stimulate thoughts about the function and characteristics you desire in your home. Cooking, dining, entertaining, guests, children, pets and activities should all be part of the discussion.




Good design is so much more than just a pretty facade. It’s a culmination of characteristics that create lasting value, function and appeal. Let us show you why Groninger Custom Homes and Kg3d Home Design are good choices for your new home.


Some additional articles that compliment this topic:


For these reasons and many others, adaptable design should allow a home to function successfully through as many of life's phases as possible. We look forward to discussing your household needs and creating a special home design just for you.


Little is more meaningful and personal than a home, and the experience of designing and building your own home should be rewarding and enjoyable. Choosing a builder is difficult. The process of designing and building a home involves numerous decisions about components, systems and services selected from criteria that includes price, quality, appearance and performance. How can you possibly understand everything unless the builder is willing to share all of the information?   


Allow us to introduce you to The GCH Way of building your next home. Please let us know if you have any questions. Keith Groninger

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